“You wouldn’t necessarily think so, but at first it was almost like we were speaking different languages because I’m Canadian and she’s American,” Mr. McCann said. “We didn’t understand each other’s slang. I would say something and Kait would look at me blankly.”
Even their personalities were at odds. Mr. McCann is an extrovert. Ms. Brinkerhoff said there are days when she’s happiest talking to no one.
Discussions about mountain climbing and riding, though, reliably bring out her chatty side. Mr. McCann was good at those. When he returned to Canada, their Facebook video calls took on a depth neither expected. “We would text all day, then talk for three hours at night,” she said. “Even though we were 1,100 miles apart, we had this connection where we never got tired of each other.”
That July, Mr. McCann flew back to Utah, this time because he was in love. By the end of his five-day trip, he had asked her to be his girlfriend and gotten a yes. The rest of that year, they switched off every month. He would fly to Utah, or she to Canada.
Mr. McCann was born in Cranbrook and grew up there with his parents, Kevin and Cheryl, and an older brother, Cody. He introduced Ms. Brinkerhoff to his parents on her first trip north that fall. Mr. McCann’s introduction to the Brinkerhoffs, Darren and Cindi, and Ms. Brinkerhoff’s older sister, Jeanette, and younger brothers, Justin and Karson, came a few months later. Though she grew up in St. George and the family is still local, “I don’t tell them about my relationships unless it feels real,” she said.
Until the pandemic, when the challenges of maintaining an international relationship escalated, there was still a too-good-to-be-true quality to her visits with Mr. McCann.